"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
You can't take it with you.

In John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" series, the method of faster-than-light travel used by starships doesn't move the vessel through space or time, but instead between dimensions. So every jump you make, you are a dimension further from the dimension you started out in. Everyone you meet who didn't make the same jump as you (which is to say, the vast majority of the universe) is subtly, imperceptibly, but absolutely altered. The delta between universes is so minute it is basically impossible you'd ever be able to tell the difference. There's math for you.

In one of Niven's old stories (it involved the Puppeteers, but I don't remember which book it was in), the whole of the Earth has been seeded with transporter pads on every street corner. Instead of elevators or stairs, or cars, they simply teleport to the closest pad to their destination.

There's a psychological disorder which causes the afflicted to be unable to recognize people as being people. They think everyone is a stranger, or an alien, or a robot. Their brain simply won't allow them to perceive people as being such.

I had an idea which combined all three of those, focusing on someone (or a group of people) who do not make jumps. Much like McCoy and transporters, they don't trust the damn things to put their molecules back together the right way after spewing them across the cosmos.

Who begin to notice the subtle, but perceptible, changes in the people who do use the jump technology. Who see how their universe is changing around them, and are unable to stop it. How people involved in the jump culture are blind to the changes in both the world and the people (jumpers and anchored alike) around them as they shift a couple dimensions out of their way to pick up coffee on the way to the office.

How someone they ask out on a date won't be the same person they actually go out with.

How every day, their co-workers are scientifically proven strangers.

I bet it'd make a pretty good short story.

Oh well.

August 4, 2007 3:21 AM